Monday, 26 October 2009

Writery Stuff

A week ago I was fed up. I was working really hard on the book, longing to get to the end, and yet struggling with the process. My lovely mentor said I needed to slow down. I didn't want to hear that, but she was very persuasive:

"Sometimes our authorial selves just need a break! The trouble with being dependant on word counts is that there's a risk of not having breathing space to let the book just 'be' for a while. If the pleasure has gone out of the process, I promise that will show in the writing itself. There's no way it couldn't. Maybe you need to ease up on yourself and stop racing to the end. I've always said that writing is so much more than words on the page. It's the walk in the country, the sit on the bus, the lie in the bath ... all the times when your book is sitting on your shoulder and whispering in your ear, even though you're not notching up the word count directly. Obviously I also want you to be able to finish this book, but if you're hating the writing I can't believe you will feel good with the finished product or that it will be anything like the standard I know it could be and indeed should be if it is to have any chance of fulfilling its potential."

Reluctantly, I had to admit she was right. So I grumbled to a halt and felt cross with the whole world. Writing a book was a stupid idea, it was a rubbish book and nobody would ever want to read it.

Then on Thursday I sold a short story. Woo hoo! My fourth sale, to The Weekly News who bought my first story too. That cheered me up a whole lot.

And on Friday I found myself thinking about my book quite lovingly, and with some interest, which was a pleasant experience.

Over the weekend I wrote a short story in a new genre, and really enjoyed using language to create emotion in the reader. (At least, that's what I was trying to do. I'm sure my short story group will tell me whether I've achieved my aim.)

Later today, or tomorrow, I am going to start work on the book again. Instead of feeling stroppy and resentful, I'm looking forward to it. I've cleared my way through some other jobs, to free up time, and I've worked out a new way to tackle the writing. I may even take the final stretch at a more leisurely pace. No promises, though!

8 comments:

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Hmm, very interesting. I always used to keep going no matter what, because I knew from experience how easy it was for me to put something down and never pick it up again. But I can see the sense of this.

I'm very interested in this whole having-a-mentor thing. Maybe one day I'll get me one for myself!

Carol said...

That was good advice you were given. I'm glad the break has allowed you to get excited about your novel again!!

Congratulations on selling your short story...fab news!!

C x

Debs said...

Great advice.

Karen said...

Sound advice, and there's nothing like a sale to boost morale and get you into the swing of things again - well done :o))

Debi said...

Fantastic. See? This is exactly what makes you such a joy to work with.

It takes a strong soul not to rebel when I say something that has the potential for you to take out a contract on me (and I still fear you will...).

Instead you've taken on board that there can be other means to a particular end. Including doing things that don't directly notch up the word count. And it's worked! Whahey!

That's such brill news about the short story writing too and proof (which you needed, but the rest of us don't) that you are a truly excellent writer.

Pat said...

What I am finding difficult is getting going again when I believed it was finished. I need divine inspiration or more likely a kick up the bum.

Shane said...

I think 'leisurely pace' would be a good thing.

Queenie said...

BS: now that's a thought!
Carol: thank you.
Debs: I know...
Karen: thank you.
Debi: what do you mean, 'will'? I've been in touch with the Assassin's Guild...
Pat: it is hard, really hard. In your case, though, as you know, I think it will be worth the effort.
Shane: so do I, although I'm not sure I've ever met one.